Backing Up and Restoring Cloudera Search

Cloudera Search includes a backup/restore mechanism primarily designed to provide disaster recovery capability for Apache Solr. You can create a backup of a Solr collection and restore from this backup if the index is corrupted due to a software bug, or if an administrator accidentally or maliciously deletes a collection or a subset of documents. This procedure can also be used as part of a cluster migration (for example, if you are migrating to a cloud environment), or to recover from a failed upgrade.

At a high level, the steps to back up a Solr collection are as follows:

  1. Create a snapshot.
  2. If you are exporting the snapshot to a remote cluster, prepare the snapshot for export.
  3. Export the snapshot to either the local cluster or a remote one. This step uses the Hadoop DistCP utility.

The backup operation uses the native Solr snapshot capability to capture a point-in-time, consistent state of index data for a specified Solr collection. You can then use the Hadoop DistCp utility to copy the index files and the associated metadata for that snapshot to a specified location in HDFS or a cloud object store (for example, Amazon S3).

The Solr snapshot mechanism is based on the Apache Lucene IndexDeletionPolicy abstraction, which enables applications such as Cloudera Search to manage the lifecycle of specific index commits. A Solr snapshot assigns a user-specified name to the latest hard-committed state. After the snapshot is created, the Lucene index files associated with the commit are retained until the snapshot is explicitly deleted. The index files associated with the snapshot are preserved regardless of document updates and deletions, segment merges during index optimization, and so on.

Creating a snapshot does not take much time because it only preserves the snapshot metadata and does not copy the associated index files. A snapshot does have some storage overhead corresponding to the size of the index because the index files are retained indefinitely until the snapshot is deleted.

Solr snapshots can help you recover from some scenarios, such as accidental or malicious data modification or deletion. They are insufficient to address others, such as index corruption and accidental or malicious administrative action (for example, deleting a collection, changing collection configuration, and so on). To address these situations, export snapshots regularly and before performing non-trivial administrative operations such as changing the schema, splitting shards, or deleting replicas.

Exporting a snapshot exports the collection metadata as well as the corresponding Lucene index files. This operation internally uses the Hadoop DistCp utility to copy the Lucene index files and metadata, which creates a full backup at the specified location. After the backup is created, the original Solr snapshot can be safely deleted if necessary.